Holistic Health

11 holistic tips on how to keep good oral hygiene while traveling

The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. It’s important to keep good oral hygiene when we are traveling. It keeps plaque lower, helps prevent cavities and oral dysbiosis.

As we travel, we try foods out of curiosity. It’s fun and exciting. Isn’t it! However, some dental issues may arise if we are not careful about what we eat. Here are handy tips and top picks for oral care products to make sure your smile is healthy even when you travel!

Tips for maintaining good oral hygiene while traveling

11 holistic tips on how to keep good oral hygiene while traveling

1. Visit your Dentist before your trip

If you are wearing a brace or you have a teeth problem, make an appointment with your Dentist before traveling to enjoy a stress-free journey!

2. Carry your eco-dental kit

It’s good to carry a dental kit than getting the free single-use toiletries provided by the hotel. A kit contains a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, and tongue scraper. Though, it’s always better to use eco-friendly oral hygiene products, which are chemical-free too!

3. Eat mindfully and Limit tooth-unfriendly foods

Limit eating foods such as sweets, chocolate, syrupy drinks, pastries, carbonated soft drinks, and starchy foods that can get stuck in between your teeth and irritate your throat. It also increases fungal levels in your mouth and gut. If you can’t avoid eating these foods, rinse your mouth right after eating any acidic or sugary foods.

Avoid eating hard foods while traveling such as ice, pork crackling, hard candies, and popcorn kernels – it can stress and crack your front tooth.

Remember, nutrition is a key factor in keeping an overall balanced microbiome in our body. Even while traveling, it’s best to eat rainbow food, whole grains, fish, eggs, drink green tea, and herbal teas.

4. Brush your teeth and keep your toothbrush dry

Brush your teeth upon waking up, after a meal, and before going to bed by using filtered or bottled water when in doubt of water safety

Brushing teeth affects the oral microbiome and gut microbiome. When people brushed after every meal, it significantly decreased Candida levels in the saliva and stool, much more than brushing one time per day.1

If you’ve eaten an acidic food or drink, avoid brushing your teeth right away. These acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can remove the enamel.

When it comes to proper care of your toothbrush, always keep it dry to avoid bacteria build-up, it can also increase your risk of developing dental problems. Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, or sooner if bristle is irregular.

5. Make Oil Pulling a part of your oral health routine

What is oil pulling?
An ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for at least 10- 20 minutes.

Benefits of oil pulling
According to the study, it kills harmful bacteria in the mouth, reduces bad breath, prevents cavity, eliminates oral thrush, reduces inflammation, and improves gum health.

What oils can you use for oil pulling?
You can use sunflower oil, sesame oil, extra virgin coconut oil, and olive oil. I prefer extra virgin coconut oil for many reasons! It’s not only good for the mouth but the skin, and for cooking too! The best thing I carry to stay healthy while traveling!

How to do oil pulling?
1. After brushing your teeth in the morning, do the oil pulling.
2. Swish a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil back and forth in between your teeth for 10-20 minutes.
3. Spit it in the garbage. Avoid spitting in the sink as this can cause a build-up of oil, which can clog over time.
4. Repeat the procedure in the evening before sleep. If you have an oral problem, it’s better to do it twice or thrice a day. But you can do this as part of your daily oral routine after brushing teeth!

After swishing, never swallow the oil. Remember that it pulls bacteria and toxins, so swallowing it can cause potential harm. Use cold-pressed oil only.

TAKE NOTE WHEN USING COCONUT OIL IN COLD COUNTRIES:
Coconut oil solidifies at a lower temperature. In that case, you can place the coconut oil bottle in warm water for a few minutes. Oil should melt quickly and be ready for oil pulling.

6. Drink plenty of water

Above any drinks, it’s best to drink water before or after every meal, and if you eat anything sweet. Drinking water will help prevent having a toothache or sore throat while traveling.

7. Boost your Good bugs

When traveling, eat fermented foods such as Kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, kefir, miso, or sauerkraut. You can also take a probiotic supplement for oral and gut health.

Eating fermented foods or taking probiotic supplements balances and repair your oral microbes. It improves gut health, reduces inflammation, promotes heart health, boosts your metabolism, and reduce painful joints.2

8. Flossing daily

Flossing is definitely a must when traveling. Not only does it prevent gum diseases, stops tooth decay in between your teeth, but it also lowers inflammatory markers3 in your blood, and reduces your risk of heart attacks in real-time.

9. Avoid using your teeth as an alternative tool.

When opening a package and removing price tags, use scissors, and use a can opener to your soda, instead of using your teeth.

10. Tongue Scraping

If you notice a coating on your tongue upon waking up, this is a build-up of digestive impurities that can compromise your health.

The tongue is divided into different zones (connected to your internal organs) that can be stimulated by scraping your tongue.

11 holistic tips to keep good oral hygiene while traveling. Do Tongue scraping.
Tongue and corresponding organs | Source: svasthaayurveda.com

That’s why it is important to remove the toxic coating or film on your tongue by Tongue Scraping or jihwa prakshalana – an ancient Ayurvedic technique. This is to keep good oral hygiene while traveling by using copper or stainless steel to scrape your tongue.

Ayurveda says that scraping the tongue should only be done in the morning on an empty stomach. 

Benefits of Tongue Scraping
By tongue scraping, it enhances your sense of taste, reduces halitosis, boosts your health, and increases the perceived intensity of salty taste, which can help reduce the overuse of salt.

11. Travel Insurance

If you have travel insurance, make sure to check if emergency dental treatment is covered. If yes, check if they provide a list of local qualified dentists and translation help, if necessary. An example of Insurance is SafetyWing insurance that covers Emergency dental for up to $1,000.

According to their policies:
1. Emergency dental treatment and dental surgery necessary to restore or replace sound natural teeth lost or damaged in an accident that was covered under this insurance.

2. Emergency dental treatment necessary to resolve acute onset of pain provided treatment is obtained within 24 hours of the acute onset of pain.

Not included:
Dental treatment and treatment of the temporomandibular joint, except for emergency dental treatment necessary to replace sound natural teeth lost or damaged in an accident covered hereunder or for the emergency relief of acute onset of pain.


For digital nomad / long-term travelers / remote workers, this is extremely affordable travel insurance you can get! It works like a subscription, just like your Netflix.

You can sign up for SafetyWing insurance, even if you started your journey! Unlike other travel insurance companies that will not insure you when you are already on the road!

>>>> RELATED: TIPS ON HOW TO STAY HEALTHY WHILE TRAVELING <<<<


Tips for choosing eco-friendly oral hygiene products

As an eco-conscious traveler, I try to use products that are less harmful to the environment as much as possible. You can still keep your teeth and gums clean that are environmentally-friendly, plastic-free, and sustainable.

  1. Upcycled or Bamboo toothbrush – It’s better to use a natural or upcycled material than a plastic toothbrush. The problem with bamboo, it can get mold. So make sure to buy a premium quality that will not get mold easily.

  2. Compostable floss – Flossing is too important to skip!

    Did you know that commercial floss also contains toxic ingredients? Yes, these are nylon and polyester flosses made from petroleum, wax from petroleum-derived, Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), Perfluorooctanoic acid (or PFOA), and perfluorinated polymers (PCF) from Teflon. You read it right! Studies link these chemicals to adverse health conditions such as thyroid disease, neurological problems, cancer, infertility, birth defects, and weaker immune systems.

    Go for dental floss that is made from natural fibers, petroleum-free, cruelty-free, plastic-free packaging, and vegan-friendly.

  3. Tongue scraper – Choose a tongue scrapers made of gold, silver, copper, tin, brass, or stainless steel. It should be non-sharp and curved, so as not to injure your tongue.

  4. Oil pulling mouthwash or Extra virgin coconut oil (cold-pressed) – Some people cannot tolerate the taste and smell of coconut oil. You can try an oil pulling product that has a pleasant flavor. Check the review first before buying it!

    PERSONAL NOTE: I don’t use mouthwash as I already use coconut oil for my mouth and I am happy with its effect! It helps me with bad breath, sore throat, teeth sensitivity, and gum problems. However, if you use mouthwash, better switch to alcohol-free or just make one for yourself!

  5. Essential oils – You can use essential oils for DIY mouthwash or oil pulling. Dilute a drop of essential oil in your carrier oil of choice and you can swish it in your mouth for 30 – 60 seconds.

    Is it safe to put essential oil in your mouth?
    Essential oils are pretty strong. If they are not diluted well, it can cause damage to your sensitive gum tissues. Essential oils should be properly diluted with a carrier oil to have a positive effect on your oral health.

    According to Dr. Eric Zielinski, DC (Dr. Z), The applications of essential oil in oral health tend to work to maintain balance rather than upset it, making them a much more reliable choice for oral health than harsh antiseptic formulas.

    What essential oils are effective for oral health?
    Cinnamon oil – effective for dental caries and oral candidiasis.
    Cloves oil, tea tree oil, basil oil – a mouth rinse containing these are effective as antiplaque and antigingivitis.
    Lavender oil – good for treating canker sore.
    Dilute a drop of lavender oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil (coconut oil/olive oil) and apply twice daily.
    Peppermint oil – with its cooling and numbing elements it effectively relieves you from a toothache, reduced halitosis, and swollen gums.
    Thieves oil (a blended EO) – reduced halitosis and an absence of “morning breath” when rinsing was performed at bedtime.

    Essential oils have many health benefits, so it is better to invest in 100% pure, therapeutic essential oils! Quality brands you can check are Young Living, Plant Therapy, and Doterra. Note: This is not a sponsored post from any essential oil companies I mentioned.

    Do your research first and check with your health care provider if you are not sure about using these products.

  6. Chemical-free toothpaste – When choosing a toothpaste, it’s better to read the label first. Not all toothpaste is safe, even though it’s easy to just grab any commercial toothpaste in the market. There are hidden dangers behind these commercial toothpaste, which I’d like to share with you!

The hidden dangers in your toothpaste and mouthwash

The hidden in toothpaste. Holistic tips on how to keep good oral hygiene while traveling

Brushing our teeth and gargling with mouthwash is a part of our daily routine upon waking up and before bedtime.

We usually buy commercial oral care products sold in the market that has been dominated by big brands. But that doesn’t mean they are all SAFE. Commercial brand toothpaste is full of chemicals! That’s why it’s always better to check the label first before buying these products.

According to Dr. Curatola, “conventional toothpaste is designed to kill all bacteria, including the essential good bacteria… And by using these oral products with alcohol-containing mouthwashes and detergent toothpaste, we are creating an environment that is more susceptible to disease.”

Now let’s take a look at the common ingredients you see on the label and what makes them harmful!

  1. Fluoride – Fluoride may help in fighting cavities, but ingesting too much can cause neurological problems, thyroid problems, and fluorosis.

  2. Propylene glycol – an anti-freeze agent that can cause damage to the central nervous system, reproductive issues, liver and kidney damage, and a skin irritant.

  3. Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfate (SLES/SLS) – This is used to make products bubble and foam. Foam is good for marketing because we associate foam with “clean”. However, it damages the skin allowing ready penetration of carcinogens.

  4. Triclosan – A pesticide used as an anti-bacterial agent that the FDA banned on soaps in 2016. However, it is still allowed on toothpaste! Weird right? This can cause endocrinal and reproductive malfunctions, organ damage, contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and harm fish and other wildlife.

  5. Diethanolamine (DEA) – it is used to make cosmetics creamy or sudsy, it’s also a pH adjuster. Known as human respiratory toxicants, cause liver cancers, and precancerous changes in skin and thyroid.

  6. Microbeads (tiny solid plastic particles) – This may contain toxic substances such as phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA), and can harm marine life when it leaches into the water.

  7. Artificial sweeteners (such as saccharin, sorbitol, aspartame) – According to study, saccharin and aspartame are known carcinogens, while sorbitol is a laxative that can cause diarrhea to children.

  8. Artificial preservatives (such as sodium benzoate, methylparaben, and ethylparaben) – May cause cancer & tumors, endocrine disruptor, and cause skin allergies.

  9. Chlorhexidine gluconate – used for mouthwash as an effective antiseptic and disinfectant. FDA warns that it can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction that may be life-threatening.

  10. Methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen) – This chemical is added for flavor but can cause dilation of the capillaries. It is linked to fatal poisonings in children.


Long-term use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes dries and changes the pH of the mouth and throat and is associated with an increased risk of mouth and throat cancers. While detergent-based toothpaste may have the potential to cause soft tissue damage in the mouth.

What we need is an oral care product that doesn’t disrupt the oral ecology but rather supports the oral microbiome and wellness of the whole body.

Non-toxic toothpaste and mouthwash ingredients

  1. Free from artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners
  2. Alcohol and Fluoride-free toothpaste
  3. No synthetic foaming agent
  4. Paraben-free
  5. may contain Coconut oil
  6. may contain Activated charcoal
  7. may contain Bentonite clay
  8. may contain Calcium carbonate
  9. may contain Non-GMO stevia leaf extract
  10. may contain prebiotic
  11. may contain Essential oils
  12. may contain sea salt
  13. may contain trace mineral drops

Top Picks Eco-Oral Hygiene Products

To give you an idea of what eco-oral hygiene products to buy next time for your travel. I have listed items you can get from Amazon!

UPCYCLED TOOTHBRUSH BY RADIUS

Key feature | BPA Free, CFC Free, Cruelty-free, Paraben-free, Soy-free, Reusable or Refillable, Responsible packaging
Price |$17.99
Materials used|
Handle: Upcycled wood, paper, or dollar bills
Bristles: Vegetable-based nylon

ORDER ON AMAZON | CHECK RADIUS

BIODEGRADABLE BAMBOO CHARCOAL DENTAL FLOSS

Key feature | Vegan, and Cruelty-Free unlike silk floss, 100% Biodegradable, Responsible packaging
Price | $11.78
Ingredients |Bamboo Charcoal Fiber, Vegan Candelilla Wax, and Peppermint Essential Oil.

ORDER ON AMAZON | CHECK ME MOTHER EARTH

TONGUE SCRAPER 100% PURE COPPER BY MASTERMEDI

Key feature | Made of copper, Non-toxic and Sterilizable, Comfort Grip, Thicker, heavy-duty gauge to ensure it is smooth on the tongue – without risk of nicks. No synthetic coverings for Grips
Price | $ 9.99

ORDER ON AMAZON

GURUNANDA OIL PULLING

Key feature | Alcohol-free, Flouride-free, Kids friendly, Cruelty-free, Natural formula, No artificial color, flavor, or preservatives
Price | $14.99
Ingredients | Sesame Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Peppermint Oil

Pulling Oil has long been used to help promote cleaner teeth and gums, more lustrous hair, and radiant skin. 

Instructions | Simply place approximately 1 tablespoon of GuruNanda Pulling Oil in your mouth and gently swish, pushing the oil between your teeth and around your mouth for 2 to 3 minutes. For better results, you may gradually increase the time period up to 15 minutes as long as it is comfortable.

ORDER ON AMAZON | CHECK GURUNANDA

ECO-FRIENDLY ORAL CARE KIT BY SMARTLIFEco

Key feature | Vegan Friendly, Cruelty-Free, Zero-waste product, No loose bristle, Travel-ready, BPA-Free, 100% Biodegradable, No mold
Price | $15.99
Material used |
Toothbrush, holder – Premium quality bamboo
Floss pick – straw wheat, thin floss
thread
What’s included |
4 x ultra-soft bamboo toothbrushes
30 x organic floss picks
1 x Bamboo toothbrush holder
1 x Bamboo toothbrush travel case

ORDER ON AMAZON | CHECK SMARTLIFECO

Switch to a Chemical-free toothpaste and Mouthwash!

REVITIN TOOTHPASTE

Key feature | SLS-Free, Fluoride-free, Natural whitening, Prebiotic formulation, Chemical-free, Antioxidants, Detergent-free, Antibacterial-free
Price | $15.00

Revitin is the World’s first prebiotic toothpaste, nutrient-rich, chemical-free, and balances the oral microbiome. Revitin supports strong white teeth, healthy gums, and fresher breath.

ORDER ON AMAZON | CHECK REVITIN

DR. BRONNER’S PEPPERMINT ALL-ONE TOOTHPASTE

Key feature | Vegan & cruelty-free, no artificial colors or flavors, carrageenan, preservatives, synthetic sweeteners, or detergent foaming agents—none!
Price | $8.94

To help reduce plaque and whiten teeth, brush teeth thoroughly with Dr. Bronner’s All-One Toothpaste and floss twice a day. Feel mouth-gums refreshed-renewed and tingly clean!

ORDER ON AMAZON | CHECK DR.BRONNER’S

THE DIRT ALL-NATURAL TOOTH POWDER

Key feature | All-natural trace-mineral, Flouride-free, SLS-free, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Corn-free, Reusable container
Price |$ 22.99
Suitable for |Adults & Children, Normal Natural Teeth, Crowns, Bridges & Veneers, Sensitive Teeth, Manual or Electric Brushes

If you are looking for an alternative to toothpaste. You can try this tooth powder! This glass mason jar has enough servings to last up to 6 months for one person when used according to directions. 

ORDER ON AMAZON | CHECK THE DIRT

DAVIDS PREMIUM NATURAL TOOTHPASTE

Key feature | EWG VERIFIED, Fluoride Free, SLS Free, Sulfate Free, Vegan, Recyclable Metal Tube & FSC Certified Packaging. Free Metal Tube Key Roller/Squeezer Included.
Price | $9.95

Natural Toothpaste to safely & effectively whiten teeth, fight plaque, and freshen breath. Smooth & creamy, non-Gritty. Blend Of Premium Domestic Mint Oils For Exceptional Flavor.

ORDER ON AMAZON | CHECK DAVIDS

GEORGANICS MINERAL TOOTHPASTE

Key feature | Vegan, Cruelty-free, zero-waste packaging, Flouride-free, Glycerine-free, Mineral-rich, non-foaming formula
Price | $12.97

This natural mineral-rich toothpaste is blended with organic coconut oil. This toothpaste will help eliminate germs and promotes healing in your gums.

ORDER ON AMAZON | CHECK GEORGANICS

AUROMERE AYURVEDIC MOUTHWASH

Key feature | Non-GMO, Flouride-free, Sulfate-free, Alcohol-free, Cruelty-free, Vegan
Price | $21.99

This natural mouthwash contains a potent Ayurvedic Formula with 23 herbal extracts & 9 essential oils, with Neem & Peelu. It’s rich in botanical extracts and essential oils that are full of beneficial properties for teeth and gums.

ORDER ON AMAZON | CHECK AUROMERE

UNCLE HARRY’S MIRACLE MOUTHWASH

Key feature | Fluoride-free, Carrageenan-free, Triclosan-free, artificial sweeteners-free, Gluten-free, Glycerin-free, SLS-free, Alcohol-free, Vegan
Price | $8

Uncle Harry’s Miracle Mouthwash is made of pure, natural ingredients for fast acting freshness and oral hygiene; nothing artificial, only pure plant essences. It encourages remineralization of tooth enamel by neutralizing acids and bacteria, supplying calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus for strengthening teeth, and maintaining a naturally alkaline pH. Soothes a sore throat, freshens breath, and enlivens teeth and gums. Safe and non-toxic.

ORDER ON AMAZON | CHECK UNCLE HARRY’S NATURAL PRODUCTS

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Don’t worry, your click on these links is at no extra cost to you but, it helps support the site. Thank You.

Resources

  1. Thomas Auchtung, et al., “Investigating Colonization of the Healthy Adult Gastrointestinal Tract by Fungi.”
  2. Cass Nelson-Dooley, et al., “Heal your oral microbiome.”
  3. Stefan Reichert, et al., “Use of Floss/Interdental Brushes is Associated with Lower Risk for New Cardiovascular Events among Patients with Coronary Heart Disease.”

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to splurge and indulge in delicious treats when traveling, but it’s important to be kind to our teeth and overall health. Follow good oral hygiene practices, and you are good to go!

Did you find this informative? If you have any questions, please ask in the comments!


The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. You should always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.

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Jonah Estanislao-Motati

Hey I’m Jonah, a nurse from the Philippines who has a unique passion for uncovering food origins while traveling. As a food enthusiast and eco-conscious traveler, I go deep into the culinary traditions of each destination, seeking out the stories behind the ingredients and dishes. Join me as I uncovers the rich tapestry of food origins, from local markets to sustainable farms, and share captivating discoveries. Be inspired to embark on a gastronomic adventure that connects you with the cultural heritage and sustainable practices of each place you visit.

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